Last week, a Shell oil facility leaked nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to federal authorities. The spill has left a two-mile by thirteen-mile sheen in the Gulf, approximately 165 miles southwest of New Orleans. The spill was first noticed near Shell's Brutus platform on Thursday morning.
Last week, the Austin Fire Department responded to a reported gas leak in an Austin apartment building linked to the University of Texas. Instead, they found an apartment door with a sign reading "Danger: Watch out, hydrogen sulfide," behind which they found the body of a young man who had apparently died of exposure to the poisonous gas. Six others were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and five others were injured but refused treatment. AFD's initial investigation determined that the deceased individual had released the gas in order to commit suicide.
In April 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded leading to the deaths of 11 workers, and spewed an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Federal prosecutors were able to secure an enormous settlement for the criminal and civil charges placed on BP, as a corporation, after this blowout. Despite the punishment against the corporation, 5 years have passed, and it is increasingly possible that not one person from BP will serve prison time.
On May 15, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion regarding the validity of a settlement agreement between BP and a man who sustained injuries as a result of the blast that caused Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. BP had appealed the District Court's decision finding that the agreement was valid.
On May 6, 2015, another train transporting oil and gas derailed and erupted into flames. The accident marks the fifth high-profile case in as many months and serves as another reminder of the dangers of domestic oil-and-gas production absent safe infrastructure to move it.
NTSB Says Tanker Car Upgrades Would Limit Consequences of Fires and Explosions
Monday, March 23, 2015 will mark 10 years since the horrific BP explosion in Texas City, which took the lives of 15 people and injured approximately 180 others. The BP explosion is to date one of the worst refinery explosions. The lives of those involved and their families may never be the same after this disaster.
In an effort to protect the country's water supply, the Obama administration released new federal regulations on Friday that will affect all hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations on federal lands. These are the first federal regulations related to hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a process in which liquid is pumped into rock seams at a high pressure in order to gain access to oil and gas that are not reachable by more conventional methods. This method has increased the United States' production of oil and gas and led to a boom in the economy. However, there is a fear that this type of fracturing could cause contamination in the water supplies.